Welcome back to our annual series of season wrap-up posts, which we cleverly titled as “The Season (20xx-xx).” Your donation dollars at work, folks.
This year, we’re not following a rotation scheme. We’re keeping it a bit more random this go-round. Using a highly scientific line of inquiry, our next installment in the series is Bolles.
Each The Season post will have the same content as they’ve had for the past four seasons. At the request of a reader last season, we will note the accomplishments of each team’s senior class that will be moving on to new goals in May or June.
You can see everything I have on the Falcons in 2017-18 here –> PEDRO MENENDEZ
Win/loss record: 10-12 in dual meets. Please review the attached document for a summary of the Falcons’ performance in IBT events.
Season in a nutshell: A very young Menendez team suited up for the Keystone Invitational at Fleming Island, and the team finish was somewhat predictable. But, the Falcons seemed to have grown from the experience, finishing mid-pack the following week at Westside Kiwanis. They entered the St Johns River Conference, contested just before Christmas, with a very short-handed group, winning just one of eight duals, and then struggled — as a group — at Episcopal’s Rob Bierbaum Invitational on January 6 and at Flagler Rotary in the final weekend of the month. In between, Menendez won a duals quad on January 9, went 4-4 at Terry Parker’s Army Duals, and then won the Ancient City title with wins over FSDB and St. Augustine, which the Falcons turned back three different times. Menendez’s best tournament was at districts, which is certainly the right time for that, as the Falcons took second, with a top-third finish at Region 1 (10th out of 29 teams), and had one state qualifier. That qualifier returns next year, as do seven other wrestlers with region-tournament experience for 2018-19. The middle weights will have to be filled, but the Falcons did have some depth in the lowers where kids that saw occasional time might have bigger roles in 2018-19.
Key returners (15+ matches this past season or post-season experience) for 2018-19 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Robert Iglesias (senior, 25-14 at 113, district runnerup, region 3rd, 0-2 at states); Justin Whitty (sophomore, 13-24 at 120, district 4th, 0-2 at regions); Jarrett Ellis (junior, 10-22 at 126, district 3rd, 1-2 at regions); Connor Spossey (sophomore, 35-14 at 138, district champ, 1 match short of states); Sean Jones (sophomore, 19-17 at 152, district 3rd, 0-2 at regions); Dane Litzinger (sophomore, 12-19 at 182, district 3rd, 0-2 at regions); Austyn Holsomback (senior, 10-4 at 195, district champ, 1 match from states); Mike Solomon (junior, 1-8 at 285, district 3rd, 0-2 at regions).
Graduation losses from this year’s team (15+ matches this past season or post-season experience): DeAndre Jones (1-7 at 132, district runnerup, did not compete at regions); Collin Tanner (23-10 at 145, district 3rd, 2-2 at regions); David Soule (19-23 at 160, district 3rd, 0-2 at regions); Alex Cathcart (18-24 at 170, district 4th, 1-2 at regions); Nick Rose (4-16 at 220, district 3rd, 0-2 at regions); Wyatt Williams (11-13 at 285, did not compete in post-season).
2017-18 MVP: Early on this season, an observer of St Johns County wrestling pointed out Connor Spossey and told me to watch him, that he was going to be really good eventually. That may be true, but he turned out to be pretty dang good even in his freshman year. Spossey hit a couple of tough Camden roadblocks in his first Florida tournament, but went 6-0 with an eventual 1A state qualifier there as well. He would place at Westside Kiwanis (fourth) and Rob Bierbaum (second), going on a streak at one point where he would win 17 of 18 matches between St Johns River Conference and Army Duals, reaching the second day at Flagler Rotary as well, taking home one of two Falcon titles at 1A-District 4. Spossey did take two losses at regions and finished one match short of states, with the first loss against a fellow MVP (Florida High’s Max Metcalf), but the sky does appear to be the limit for him over the next three seasons.
2018-19 captain: Robert Iglesias has had more wins in prior seasons than he was able to enjoy this year, but this season might mean more, in that he was able to reach the state tournament as Menendez’s lone qualifier this past year. It was a tough start. Iglesias struggled to get well clear of the .500 mark, as he was 9-9 at one point through early in January. But from there, he had six straight pins and won 11 of 12 matches. Iglesias was the runnerup at districts, coming back with a third-place finish at regions, going 5-1 at that event, and had two solidly-competitive matches at states, where he lost twice by decision and a combined total of seven points, scoring well in both. Going into his senior year next year, Iglesias will certainly be among the team leaders for the Falcons.
Heaton’s Hero: Seniors are not usually cast for this one, but the story of Nick Rose bears some mention here. Rose struggled in what would have been his first year as a starter, with no wins until January, despite three different competitions prior to that first win on the 9th against FSDB, plus a forfeit against St Augustine that same night. Rose would only pick up two more wins the rest of the season, both coming late in February and both via forfeit. Rose had one match at districts, with a bye to take third place, and went 0-2 at regions. Only one match was reported as six minutes (I wonder if it was not a pin also), and the rest were all pins, most of them first-period versions. But Rose stayed out for the entirety of the season, and it would have been easy not to stay with it. For choosing the harder path, Nick Rose is the Heaton’s Hero for Pedro Menendez.
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